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Modest expectations

Expectations from Musharraf-Manmohan talks at NAM Summit are modest, with no hype in Pak media about a meet that would normally attract huge attention.

india Updated: Sep 15, 2006 16:47 IST

Expectations from the scheduled talks between Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Havana are modest, with no hype in the media about a meeting that would normally attract huge attention.

The two leaders are expected to meet on Saturday on the sidelines of the NAM summit in Havana.

The Pakistani media based in Washington appeared to concentrate on a meeting between Musharraf and Afghan President Hamid Karzai to resolve Pakistan's border management problems with its western neighbour.

The two had met in Kabul only recently amidst considerable media attention. Musharraf was accompanied by a large team of mediapersons, besides ministers and officials.

The News International carried a report not attributed to any source from Havana saying that Musharraf and Manmohan Singh could meet over the weekend for talks, "hoping to ease tensions after a year of recriminations over terror attacks and Kashmir".

The report quoted unnamed Indian and Pakistani officials who also said expectations were modest.

"Neither in India nor in Pakistan is there real pressure to achieve the kind of results that might be achievable or to make the kind of dramatic policy changes that would be needed," said Teresita Schaffer, a South Asia expert at Washington's Center for Strategic and International Studies.

The India-Pakistan peace process will not revive "unless it gets a personal infusion of energy from the two leaders", the former US diplomat was quoted as saying.

Indian officials said Manmohan Singh would be looking for assurances from Musharraf to crack down on groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba.

Pakistan wants India to enter into serious negotiations about the long-term future of Kashmir. It believes "it is India's responsibility, since it has most of the cards, to play those cards", a retired US intelligence official said.

"In Pakistan, the feeling is that Musharraf went out on a limb, and the Indians did not join him," said Marvin Weinbaum, a senior scholar at the Middle East Institute in Washington.

Dawn newspaper carried a New Delhi datelined report stating that Manmohan Singh was carrying "a Kashmir brief" proposing, among other things, "an internal ceasefire" in Jammu and Kashmir state before Ramadan.

The brief was supposed to be based on consultations with Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad and Hurriyat chief Mirwaiz Omar Farooq.